Is the Hawthorn style of game all zoned out? That appears to be the consensus in the Football world after Hawthorn struggled to another inglorious loss against a more attacking side and Adelaide floundered at home for a fifth straight loss in Adelaide. Is it a victory for the football purists that the Geelong ‘attacking’ style of game is appearing to prevail or am I just looking hard to find a theory to improve on my shoddy tipping so far this season?
Fremantle vs. Hawthorn Subi
The Dockers have suddenly come out to play with three straight wins steering the boat into calmer waters after a rocky start. The Dockers stood tall last week, unexpectedly seeing off the Blues in unfamiliar territory in a match that they seemed to control for the majority of the night. Freo have gone from being the running joke to being in the running. For the Hawks though it’s all coming apart at the seams. The injuries continue to pile up with Chance Bateman (who is named to play) and Luke Hodge joining the list of afflicted players in what must be the most cursed premiership defence of the decade. Opposition teams are taking on the zone and the Hawks don’t have the cattle in which to impose their will on matches so far this season. This will be another game that gets away from them as the Dockers will record their fourth straight victory. The Dockers ship to come in by 25 points.
Western Bulldogs vs. Melbourne The G
The Bulldogs can build on last weeks away win at Adelaide with a comfortable snafflage of the points at the home of football against the Wooden Spooners elect Melbourne. The Demons will as usual have an honest crack but they don’t have that killer instinct required to finish off their better performances. In the last few weeks the Demons have played well without getting the chocolates so they might be in for a bit of a downer this week after returning from Perth. The return to form of Adam Cooney is a significant plus as they missed his input in the early rounds of the season and he will continue to build on last weeks effort as the Dogs go strength to strength. Bulldogs to keep barking with a 56 point victory.
Geelong vs. North Melbourne Cat Park
Last week without Gary Ablett The Catters barely raised a sweat disposing of the Sydney Swans. Meanwhile, at the Dome later that night the Roos did everything they could to hand the points to the Powerpuff Girls but they weren’t up to the task. If the Roos put half as much effort into giving away the four points this week you can rest assured that the Cats will take advantage. The return of Tom Harley to the defence stiffens the Cat backline just in time to face one of the weakest forwardlines in the business. With Harley back to assist in combating the tall North forwards one possible advantage is lessened for the Roos. Hamish McIntosh has a great chance to get the ball rolling for North but it’s hard to see the North engine room winning too much ball out of the centre. The Cats to career away to a 49 point win.
Brisbane vs. Adelaide Gabba
Don’t look now but Brisbane are in the eight and I aint Lion. With the Brownshaw show only receiving moderate reviews so far this year Brisbane have done well to win away from home and will look forward to the visit of the dysfunctional Adelaide Crows to the Gabbatoir. In years gone by Adelaide have prospered against Brisbane but the kids aren’t ready yet and the older bodies look to be struggling to maintain the expected standard. Throw in the possible absence of Simon Goodwin and the confirmed absence of Nathan Bock and a mystifying game plan and it’s hard to see the Blackbirds saluting in Queensland this week. Brisbane by 22 points.
Sydney vs. West Coast Homebush
When are some Sydney fans going to blow up Homebush Stadium? Surely there are Swannie fans out there that absolutely hate the joint. You need a packed lunch and a well-watered Camel to get out to there, you need 400,000 to get any atmosphere in the place and Sydney play the venue about as well as Natalie Bassingthwaite. Chuck this one on at the Basketball Court and the Swans can bag the points. With this game at Bank Stadium it’s anyone’s game. The West Coast are dead set ordinary but this venue gives them a shot but they need to run, run, run. With the ageing bodies in the Swans outfit an upset could be on the cards. With the experience going to the home side it is time for some of these guys to cash in. Barry Hall was unfairly targeted last week and his team mates have spoken up for him off the field. If they speak up for him on the field and give him some decent delivery Bazza will oblige with a swag of sausage rolls. Yep, I’ve talked myself into it. Bazza to get a few and the Swannies to salute. Sydney by 12 points.
Port vs. Richmond Football Park
Surely the Powerpuff girls can’t drop two matches in a row to the Tiggers at Football Park? With Kornes and Salopek sidelined Port look a bit down on talent but they are playing Richmond after all who are a severely limited combination. Oakley-Nichols and Schultz are back on the merry-go-round and out of the side and struggling veteran Nathan G Brown gets another crack in the forward line and the Tiges have recalled Mitch Morton (still can’t work out why he was dropped in the first place) and Andrew Raines returns to take the place of the courageous Rance. The Power for their part remain consistently inconsistent and must find some sort of method or this match and the year might just slip them by. With absolutely no confidence at all in the Port, I’m tipping them this week but I’m not sure why. Who knows what this mob will turn out on any given week. Port to have one of their ‘up’ weeks and have a 23 point win.
Carlton vs. Collingwood The G
In years gone by this would have been a massive match, a blockbuster. In recent seasons one side has been up and the other down. In this year’s battle it is once again a massive match but only because both have been ordinary in recent weeks and the loser of this match is in real strife. For all of their pre-season pronouncements, the Blues have now recorded just the one win in the last five and appear to be falling into the bad habit of being a Fevola conscious forward line which has been their downfall in recent years. The Pies are well down in personnel but perhaps the omission of Trav Cloke might turn out to be a plus as he has been woeful to say the least in recent matches. If, and it’s a big if, Medhurst and Davis can return and be effective then they will hold a slight edge in this match. I’m leaning towards the Pies here as the Blues have started to lose their way a bit. The small Pie forwards can cause a bit of damage in this one. Collingwood by 14 points.
St Kilda vs. Essendon The Dome
The Baby Bombers MK XVII are the latest combination that has been sent to the mountaintop in an attempt to slay the St Kilda Dragon this season. It is a mission that promises about as much success as many of those that have already failed before. The Bombers enjoyed a lot of space against an undermanned Hawks outfit last week but they are going to be wondering whether this St Kilda team are in fact playing the same game. Unfortunately for the Bombers, they aren’t. The Saints are playing Geelong style corridor football straight from the mind of Leigh Tudor to the Sainters. At full strength and oozing confidence from every pore, I can’t see the Bombers getting off the ground in this match. St Kilda by 58 points.
Last week: 4